Aims of project

The chief aim of this ERA project is to explore the use of Information Technology and electronic communications to package and deliver ethnographic materials to undergraduate anthropology students. The core of the project is a collection of ethnographic materials and historical sources entitled 'Working Notes on the Kingdom of Bum'. The 'Working Notes' were compiled by Sally Chilver in 1993 on the basis of her much earlier fieldwork in the Cameroon Grassfields. This research was undertaken in collaboration with Phyllis Kaberry in the 1960s. The ethnographic materials contained in the collection reflect very much on issues to do with political and ritual hierarchies and the construction of local identity in the period immediately prior to independence. The project to define unit and rank of Grassfields communities was (and is) an on-going and collaborative effort involving many different agencies. This effort conjoined both those elements on the ground, that constituted the political and ritual community of Bum, and the external agencies that arrived on the scene successively from the 1880s onwards. The 'Working Notes' and linked materials presented here record these encounters over a period of more than a century with explorers, missionaries, colonial officers and anthropologists.

The linked materials comprise the original published accounts and more recently published related texts and also a glossary, commentaries and a bibliography. All these materials, together with some graphic elements, have been digitized. The text has been put into HTML and hyperlinks inserted to create pathways between the different levels and elements of the text and other materials.

This package of materials is initially to be trialled as a teaching element in two advanced level anthropology modules that will run over terms 1 and 2 of the 1998/99 academic year. In term one the materials will be incorporated into a module on Anthropology, IT and the Internet. In this instance the focus will be less on content and more on issues to do with the use of IT and multimedia to represent ethnography. Students will work on the various existing materials together with additional contemporary materials and acquire the skills necessary to link and deliver them using the appropriate technology. This exercise will also entail exploring the use of these technological means not available to the original authors to produce a non-linear multimedia text and graphics ethnographic package. In term two the materials will be used as a teaching element on colonial ethnography and the construction of identity in a module on African Ethnography

How to use these pages Contents Working Notes
Sally Chilver's Field Diary Phyllis Kaberry Fieldnotes Published Account

For further information contact Ian Fowler